Is Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier a great match for you? Let’s find out.

The breed’s happy personality and adorable appearance have won many people’s hearts. But as cuddly and sweet as they are, these are working dogs. Under that furry coat, there’s a sturdy body and a willful character.

If you consider getting one, here’s the most important information you should know:

Meet the Friendly Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

If we have to describe these dogs, we’ll use the phrase “iron fist in a velvet glove.” They have a sweet appearance, but they can be headstrong at times.

Compared to other Terriers, they’re less scrappy and have a sense of fun. That’s what makes them so popular. But let’s get to the essence of the breed.

Ancient Irish Dog That Herds, Hunts, and Protects 

What better way to learn more about their temperament than to look into the Wheaten Terrier history?  

Although its origins aren’t entirely clear, the breed is more than 200 years old. It’s among Ireland’s three large breed terriers: Wheaten, Kerry Blue, and Irish. Records show that these dogs were bred to help farmers with everyday chores.

From ratting, guarding the chicken coop, herding, or bird-dogging, there was hardly an Irish farm without a Wheaten dog. By law, Irish farmers weren’t allowed to own hounds or spaniels. Hence, these terriers got the nickname “poor man’s dog.”

Is It AKC-Approved?

Yes! But the struggle for acknowledgment was hard and long. Despite the long history of the Irish Wheaten Terrier, the Irish Kennel Club accepted it in 1937 and the British Kennel Club in 1943. 

The first Wheaten Terrier was brought to the US in 1946 by Lydia Vogel. Despite her efforts to persuade AKC to approve the dog, it took almost three decades to achieve that. The AKC recognized it in 1973.

Appearance — Furry Friend With an Athletic Body 

Don’t get confused by their fluffiness. Under that soft silky coat is a sturdy, muscular body full of endurance and power.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Size

Wheaten Terriers are medium-sized dogs that weigh 35–40 pounds and are 17–19 inches tall. 

According to the AKC breed standard, they have a rectangular head that’s moderately long. Their body is compact and relatively short-coupled. The ears are small to medium, and their eyes are slightly almond-shaped.

Wheaten’s Wavy Single Coat

What distinguishes the Wheaten Terrier is its soft, silky, and wavy coat that comes in any shade from beige to gold. White and red ones aren’t in the standard. 

Are Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers hypoallergenic? These dogs don’t have an undercoat, making them almost non-shedding and hypoallergenic.

Temperament — Strong-Willed Ball of Energy 

Under that silky coat is an energized and playful terrier that loves to jump, bounce, run, go on long walks, and even dig. They’re headstrong and can become somewhat hard to handle if not socialized and trained correctly. 

Although they’re less feisty than other terriers, they still need guidance and training. Luckily, they’re incredibly adaptable and people-oriented. 

Consistent training and patience can break the stubborn Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier temperament into good behavior. These dogs are quick learners, so once you bond, training can become a routine you can both enjoy.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier close up photo

Expect Greetings With Lots of Bounces and Tail Wiggles

Don’t be surprised if you get a hug anytime you walk through the front door. These dogs love greetings and will bounce and jump as much as possible to let you know how happy they are with you around.

The breed’s devotion is great. The minute their energy is down, these dogs turn into cuddly toys that love to chill with you.

Friendly Watchdog

The outgoing and happy personality of the Wheaten dog breed makes it a friendly watchdog. It’ll bark at strangers approaching your house, but it’ll greet them with enthusiasm once you let them in. 

Compared to other terries, these pups aren’t barkers but will still alert you if needed, especially if there’s a small animal around, like a cat or squirrel. They have a strong instinct to chase. So having a low-fenced yard isn’t enough, as they’ll jump over it. Also, due to their high prey drive, always have them on a leash outside. They’re strong, so we highly recommend leash training

Treats Motivate Them to Train and Learn 

If you’re wondering how to handle strong-willed Wheaten terrier types, treats help a lot during training sessions. Hitting and yelling isn’t the way to go. 

These smart pups learn best with positive reinforcement, but you have to start as soon as you bring them home. You can do it yourself or get a professional trainer. If you’re thinking about the latter, check the dog trainer prices first.

These dogs also need at least 40 minutes of exercise a day. They love long walks, but you can take them to agility classes if you don’t have time for that. Otherwise, they’ll try to kill their boredom by barking or digging.   

This Gentle Doggo Adores Children

Wheaten Terrier dogs and kids are an awesome match. If you have Soft-Coated Wheaten puppies and a baby growing together, they’ll be best friends. Thanks to their playfulness, these dogs love being around the children.

Always supervise your dog around small children and teach them to respect each other. While the dogs aren’t aggressive, some have limited tolerance.

Nutrition — Aim for Balanced, Low-Calorie Diet 

A well-balanced and high-quality food is the best choice for any dog. Depending on the size, weight, and activity, Wheaten Terriers need between ½ and 1.5 cups of dry food per day, split into two meals. If you are unsure about the amount, consult your vet.

As with other dogs, be aware of the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier weight. The breed is prone to obesity. Be careful with the amount of food you offer. Also, freeze-dried meals for dogs can be a great option, especially if you’re on a tight schedule.

Let’s Talk About Health

Wheaten Terrier dogs are generally healthy and have a long life when properly cared for.

The formula for longevity is always the same: buy your dog from a reputable breeder, offer a well-balanced diet, and take your pet to regular vet checkups. Also, be consistent with the puppy shot schedule.

The average Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier lifespan is around 12–15 years. With proper care, these dogs can live up to 17 years. 

Common Health Issues

Every breed is prone to specific health issues. 

Research by prominent vets shows that these two conditions are more common among Wheaten dogs — Protein-Losing Nephropathy and Protein-Losing Enteropathy. 

Other health issues include Addison’s Disease and Renal Dysplasia. Renal dog food can be of great help to prevent or ease the latter.  

Even if these terriers are more prone to the diseases above, they won’t necessarily develop them. But it’s good to consider prevention. Regular checkups will put you at ease, and if you detect a condition early, it’s manageable.

This Low-Shedder Requires Daily Grooming

The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier shedding might be very low, but it still needs diligent maintenance

If you want your dog to have a silky, glossy, and soft coat, you have to brush it daily to prevent matting. Invest in a good brush like HERTZKO Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush for Dogs on Amazon, and you’ll even enjoy doing it. 

These dogs love to dig and play outside, so check them for debris and dirt. A bath once every other month is enough to keep their coat neat.

Buying a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier 

If you decide on buying a dog, always go for reputable breeders. Usually, the price is around $900–$1,400. But many people abandon their dogs, so you can also check rescue centers nearby first.


Although the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is an excellent dog even for first-time owners, you still have to pay attention to its temperament, exercise, and grooming needs. 

If you don’t mind combing and taking long walks with your pup, the Wheaten terrier will be a great match. But if you work long hours and don’t have the time to train or walk your dog, you look for a different breed.

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